American Airlines to quit Stansted: Long haul carrier scraps Chicago service
American, the only long-haul carrier flying there, said it had decided to abandon its daily Stansted to Chicago service after losing about dollars 10m since launching the route last June.
However, the scrapping of the service is also a reflection of the fierce battle being fought between British and US carriers for survival on the transatlantic market.
BAA, the owner of Stansted, badly needs to attract more airlines and more services to the airport, having invested pounds 400m in a new terminal and rail link.
Last year the airport lost nearly pounds 29m. Although the number of passengers handled rose by a third to 2.34 million, this is less than half its 5 million capacity. Stansted has the potential to take 8 million passengers with a further satellite.
A spokeswoman for BAA said: 'Obviously, we are very sad that American has pulled out, but you have got to put it in context. Stansted is the fastest-growing airport in Europe and American accounted for only 2 per cent of passenger traffic.'
Neverthless, the airport now lacks a prestige international airline to attract other carriers. There are 12 scheduled airlines at Stansted, operating to 41 destinations compared with six carriers flying to 11 destinations two years ago.
Hans Mirka, American's senior vice-president international, said that load factors on the Stansted-Chicago route were consistently low and that the flight did not attract enough premium business travellers.
He also attacked the failure of the British government to liberalise the rules preventing American from increasing the number of US destinations served from Stansted.
This might have tempted American to continue its Chicago service. But with its aircraft less than half full compared with load factors of more than 80 per cent on its flights from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester, the Stansted route could not be made viable. American still operates twice- daily to Chicago from Heathrow in competition with British Airways.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
British man arrested after children found with slit throats in France
World news in pictures
'Swivel-gate': David Cameron goes to war with the press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 'Swivel-gate': David Cameron goes to war with the press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
iJobs Money & Business
£550 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Fidessa Analyst / PM - Banking - London - Up to £...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Sourcing Manager - Banking - London - Up to £500p...
To be discussed at interview.: Queen Elizabeth's School: An experienced and ef...
£294.05 - £330.92 per day + 150 per day travel and accommodation: Orgtel: A le...